MINNEAPOLIS — The future of the Minneapolis Police Department's Third Precinct is still up in the air three years after it was burned down.
Earlier this month, the City Council approved a relocation plan, but it was sent back to committee days later.
On Monday, Mayor Jacob Frey sent a letter to members, asking them to either pick a new location or allow him to do so.
Frey wrote in part:
"Residents who rely on the Third Precinct, City staff, and broader community – need a decision... If you as a body cannot come to a timely decision, then please grant me the authority to make it myself."
At their committee of the whole meeting Tuesday, council members did not take the mayor up on his request.
"We have a role to play. We're here representing our communities," said Council Member Andrew Johnson, who represents a portion of the Third Precinct.
In the aftermath of George Floyd's murder at the hands of Minneapolis police, the Third Precinct's headquarters building was torched by rioters.
Since then, officers serving the geographical area of the precinct have been temporarily stationed downtown, while a contentious debate over their future home has waged on.
In prior meetings, city council members made a nonbinding resolution to reject rebuilding the new station on the old site, and on Tuesday, the council voted to reject an option that would put Third Precinct officers with First Precinct officers at the abandoned Century Plaza building located downtown.
"We want them serving and located within the precinct that they serve," Johnson said.
The City Council has to approve the location pending a budget issue. Johnson said they want to make a decision within a few months, but don't want to be rushed by the mayor.
"It was pretty surprising because I think the council's been very clear that we want to move forward on a site. We also expect bare minimum around community engagement," Johnson said.
In a statement after Tuesday's meeting, a mayor spokesperson said, "The City Council has made it clear what they are against, but we need to know what they are for. If they are unable to come to a decision about where to put the precinct, they should grant the mayor the authority to make that decision himself. Residents who rely on the Third Precinct’s services are owed a decision.”
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